Leopard out, Tiger back in
I just downgraded from Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard to the previous release, Tiger. I'd had enough of a recurring glitch that left me looking at the spinning Beach Ball of Death right after Finder starts loading. The only way out: force the computer to power-down.
Judging by the comments posted by Leopard users on Apple's support website, I'm not the only one experiencing this problem. Many folk attribute it to some issue with Parallels, which may be true, but it's not an app I've been running for some time and certainly not after I reinstalled Leopard from scratch. Me, I think it's an issue with Spotlight and possibly Time Machine.
I referred tangentially to the problem in the first two parts of my Leopard review, here and here. The first time it happened, right after my first start-up of the day, I assumed it was a drive problem. But I checked the HDD and it proved to be OK.
Having installed Leopard using the installer's Install and Archive option so all-new system files are created, this time I wiped the hard drive, re-installed the OS and used Time Machine to restore my data. A few days later the glitch materialised again. Once more, I wiped the hard drive, reinstalled Leopard and this time restored a few apps and their data manually. The last time, I also applied the then newly released 10.5.1 update.
Still no joy.
Here's what happens: Leopard boots up, the desktop wallpaper appears, the Dock pops up, Finder loads and displays its menu bar, the Spotlight icon appears... and that's it. The fans start cranking up, so some code is clearly thrashing my MacBook Pro's Core Duo. The Spotlight icon pulses, suggesting its indexing my hard drive.
That's fine as it goes, but the problem is, it never returns control to the user. Click on the icon, and the BBoD appears. If I'm really lucky, the desktop icons appear and I can use the Mac. But not Spotlight, which either can't work out how long it will take to index the 80GB (45GB free) hard drive or tells me it'll take 270 hours...
A visit to Activity Monitor and the system logs reveals the process mdworker is crashing over and over again. The drive's index is never being properly written, which forces Spotlight to reindex, which eventually causes mdworker to crash, which... and so on and so on.
An Apple Knowledge Base article refers to these symptoms but lays the blame on an old DivX component. If this was in my system at the start, it certainly wasn't be the time of my third install.
A hardware problem? Well, Leopard runs just fine when I boot up off a (different) external HDD.
Whatever, I had enough, called it quits and went back to Tiger. So far - famous last words? - no problem...
All this highlights just how much of a change Leopard is. Just as the new OS is Apple's fastest-selling yet, it's also proving to be one of the most incompatible with existing apps. What's hit Microsoft since the release of Vista is hitting Apple now.
I should point out that there are many, many folk out there running Leopard with no trouble whatsoever - three of them here in Vulture Central. So I know Leopard works. I also think that its UI and Time Machine automatic back-up feature are big steps forward for the Mac OS.
I just wish I could enjoy them too.
As for my Leopard problem. I suspect it lies somewhere between Time Machine and Spotlight. Spotlight was originally set to index the TM archive on my external hard drive , even though when I rebuilt my system the first time, I disabled Time Machine. But of course the TM data was still on the external drive and still being read by Spotlight.
I've cleaned out the external drive now - I hope - but I can't quite bring myself to upgrade to Leopard again. Maybe I'll wait until 10.5.2 comes out. Or maybe I'll just wait a few more years until I next upgrade my computer, and I've never said that about a Mac OS X update before.
This is about Leopard, but bear with me ...
As a long term Windoze user (I started in the days of Windows for workgroups 3.11) and upgraded through every flavour to XP and have installed Vista for friends (I also ran my own Linux based web hosting business for 7 years) I must confess I was a long time Mac Basher!
Back in 1999 I bought myself one of those (at the time!) pretty looking strawberry flavour iMac's thinking it was going to be the best thing since bread got sliced, only to sell the thing at a loss 3 weeks later after no end of crashes and hanging problems.
About 18 months ago I decided to buy myself a Dual 1.8 Ghz G5 PowerMac, and joy of joy I found myself using tiger for the first time and after 5 solid hours was a convert, I read somewhere that once you go Mac you never go back, and I'm ashamed of myself for being a reformed Mac basher, but at least I saw the light.
I'm no expert (an ex is a has been and a spurt is a drip under pressure!) but I know a little about computers and feel well positioned to comment nowadays without any bias, and hand on heart any PC users out there who are still to this day Mac Bashing, please take the time to go and use one of these babies, because the joy of using my little G4 12" Powerbook, or my swanky brand spanking new replacement for my Dual G5, a Dual core 24" iMac in silver and black, quiet, sleek, sexy and should the awful need arise the capability to run Windoze XP (and surprisingly in 18 months I've never found anything I needed to go back to XP to do even though I was die hard PC!).
Okay, like a good Billy Connolly joke, I now get back to the subject to hand, that being Leopard, well all I can say is that my little G4 power book and the new beast of an iMac upgraded flawlessly and work like a dream, and time machine is without a doubt the BEST backup software invented to date.
As someone who loves the stability of Linux and still use it to host my companies web sites (I'm a web deisgner nowadays!) I always wanted a version of Linux that was as plug and play as windows, with off the shelf packages that were as good as or better than the Windows ones I loved (things like dreamweaver, fireworks, Photoshop, Outlook).
Well OS X and in particular Leopard scores 10/10 for me, okay it will have bugs initially (like In-Design CS3 wouldn't work anymore) but show me a windows O/S that is even half as bug free as leopard and I'll show you the day Microsoft was bought out by Apple, because truly, it's superb.
I suspect that there is something wrong with some people's hardware, or incompatibilities with particular models of machine, but this I'm sure will be ironed out, after all Tiger was wonderful, so Leopard is bound to be better.
XP took years to get stable, and no doubt it's still the best software to have left Redmond's secret programming labs, and it was the best O/S i'd ever used and I praised it day to day, but come one people (yes you know who you are Windoze phreaks) give Apple a chance, try Leopard and if you seriously aren't impressed then don't bother buying Vista which is your current upgrade path, cos boys they've just about tried and failed to rip off pretty much everything apple has put into OS X, can't wait to see the next version of Vista, is 'Time Vault/Traveller/Backup' the next big new thing to come from the imagination of Bill's Boys!
Leopard ok on my G5. BUT is a total loss on my intel macbook
I installed Leopard on a G5 imac and it has been fabulous. I have had my intel macbook since summertime. It was a fabulous machine and ran well with Tiger. After upgrading it to Leopard, I have had no end of trouble. first was the cut and paste which didn't. then the wireless connection kept cutting out (when another machine on the network wasn't.) Then Soho notes failed to export multiple note. Then the menu bar at the top of the screen started blacking out for several minutes after boot. Then my shift key stuck then the num lock. finally the ethernet connection (which I was using because the wireless connection kept craping out) - that started droping out too. I have had it.
Tiger is going to make a comeback on my macbook and leopard is out out out.
Leopard is clearly the worst Mac OS/X release to date ...
... because it doesn't "just work" ...
My own experience with two G4 Macs (one iBook and one deskside tower) has been very poor. They're both slower with lots of interminable Spinning Pizzas of Death and my laptop has crashed/hung about eight times since I installed leopard -- about five times with the 10.5.1 update installed. (These hang/crashes almost all occured when I open the lid and it never returns from sleep.)
I haven't investigated why these problems are happening but it's definitely been the worst Mac OS/X upgrade experience I've ever had. And it's put a stall on my purchase decision for a new Mac.
Also, I have to say that the new software upgrade system truly sucks. It's non-obvious what's happening and it forces you to do the upgrade durring a System Restart which leaves the machine unusable while I wait for progress on the install.
sql and ioncube
had to downgrade too.. many problems with sql and ioncude not running as they used to and needing to be upgraded. i am a smart connection enterprise user and need both of these things to run seamlessly. i did not even know what ioncube was before i upgraded....
Tony, I had a similar problem with my iMac G5/ 1.8MHz system. The fan would roar shortly after startup, and then the system would become unresponsive. I ran the Apple Hardware Test from the restoration CD which revealed a defective RAM module. When I exchanged the module, everything worked like an Apple should. Flawlessly. Give it a try. That would be a simple fix.